How To Tell If Dog Has Fleas Or Just Dry Skin?

How To Tell If Dog Has Fleas Or Just Dry Skin

Don’t you hate it when you’re petting your dog, only to feel a weird sensation along its fur?


This can be a little disconcerting and turns out it’s actually pretty common.


The good news is that most of the time, those “weird sensations” are just an indication that your dog has dry skin or some other condition — not fleas.


In this article, we’ll go over ways to tell if your dog has an infestation of these parasites, what to do about dry skin in dogs, and how to keep them from getting these bugs in the first place.


Signs that your dog has fleas

The most common symptom of fleas is itching. If your dog has fleas, they can cause him to itch his skin raw.


The itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva in the flea’s bite. Other symptoms can include:


  • Red, scaly areas on the skin where there are many bites.
  • Excessive scratching.
  • Bald patches on the skin.
  • Flea dirt (tiny black specks) on the dog’s coat.
  • Shedding due to bald spots caused by fleas chewing hair off


Where to check for fleas?

dog scratching


  • Check your dog’s ears
  • Look at your dog’s back
  • Feel for bumps on your dog’s stomach
  • Dog’s tail


Check your dog’s ears

 Fleas can be found in the ear canal, on the outer edge of the ear, or even deep inside the ear.


Look at your dog’s back

Fleas will leave red to brownish stains and small black spots on their backs that resemble coffee grounds.


Feel for bumps on your dog’s stomach

If you feel a bump that looks like a tiny volcano, it’s likely an insect bite or irritation caused by fleas.


Bites are often found near armpits, behind knees, and between toes where they congregate during feeding times.


Dog’s tail

You’ll want to look closely at each hair strand because if there are any fleas present they may be hiding right near their base where no one notices them unless you’re checking closely.



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How To Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs

Here are the best ways to get rid of fleas:


Use a flea comb

The first step in treating your dog’s flea problem is to physically remove any adult fleas and eggs from its fur.


One of the easiest ways to do this is by using a flea comb—just comb through your dog’s fur, picking out any seen or felt critters, which should then be disposed of safely.


Use a flea shampoo

A second method for getting rid of adult fleas on dogs is through bathing with an anti-flea shampoo, which will kill them once they come into contact with the shampoo during the washing and rinsing phases.


Signs that your dog has dry skin

If you think your dog might have fleas, first look for these signs:


  • Scratching
  • Redness
  • Dandruff
  • Itching and hair loss


If this sounds like your dog’s situation, try treating him for fleas first.


When all of these don’t work and he still has dry skin, start treating him for dry skin as well.



We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about what fleas look like on your pup.


If you are still unsure if your dog has fleas or just dry skin, we encourage you to take him or her to the vet for a treatment plan that includes parasite protection and itch relief.


Fleas can be very dangerous for dogs, so it is important to make sure that they get treated right away.


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A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.